Loyola University Maryland

Office of the President

Fr. Linnane's State of the College Address 2007

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Loyola College In Maryland
State of the College Address


12 September 2007
Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
President

Good afternoon. I am happy to welcome all of you to the new academic year and to this, my third State of the College address. Once again I can report that the College is in an excellent state. Any number of indicators—admissions, development, financial status, academic reputation—point to remarkable strength, stability, and success. In addition to these important and enviable achievements, I am particularly gratified by the many ways in which the College lives out its distinctive mission as a Catholic university sponsored by the Society of Jesus. We continue to challenge the members of our community to reflect carefully on the mystery of human existence and to develop a well-grounded, intellectually rigorous solidarity with all of our sisters and brothers, a solidarity that demands that we pay special attention to those persons affected by poverty and oppression. There is much to be proud of at Loyola and I am grateful for all of you who do so much to advance the College’s mission.

Before turning to a discussion of the priorities of this academic year, let me reflect briefly on some of the highlights of 2006-2007.

First of all, let me welcome our new Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Timothy Snyder. Tim received his doctorate in applied mathematics from Princeton University and has spent his career in Jesuit universities as a professor and administrator. Most recently he served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University for six years and before that he was Professor of Computer Science and Dean of Science at Georgetown University. Tim has already proved to be a wonderful addition to the College and I know that you will enjoy working with him and getting to know him. Dr. Snyder has several priorities, including the development and execution of the coming Strategic Plan. He has emphasized immediately the many opportunities the College has in expanding its diversity, including among faculty and staff, as well as with its student body. The quality of the College's collective intellectual capacity, including its capacity for learning and discovery, is improved through diversity, and our College mission and accomplishments to date call on us to learn how we might best succeed, especially in our hiring processes. Tim has been working with our faculty, deans, Human Resources, and Assistant Vice President Wharton in exploring best practices in hiring, myths associated with diversified searches and position offers, and related issues. In particular, he notes that we can improve the College by migrating from a tradition of thinking that links expansion in diversity with cost or compromise to one that understands diversity as a necessary component of the intellectual and programmatic quality to which we aspire.

Tim is also keenly interested in protecting faculty, staff, and administrative time and he seeks to take advantage of our opportunity for further collaboration across the College's divisions (or, as he calls them, units). I want to thank Dr. Susan Donovan and the members of the vice presidential search committee for their outstanding work.

Year of the City

One of the most successful initiatives of 2006-2007 was the Year of the City. I am sure that you recall that I asked the Loyola College community to devote the year to an examination of urban life in the United States as a response to the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I saw a number of similarities between New Orleans and Baltimore and I believed that this event and its aftermath provided us with a significant occasion to consider the opportunities and responsibilities that confront a Jesuit university in a major city. When I proposed the Year of the City in my inaugural address, I was quite aware of the risks involved. What if I called for a Year of the City and no one came? I need not have worried. The events, academic courses, and the new relationships forged far surpassed my expectations. I was amazed by the enthusiasm for this endeavor and by the outstanding ideas that came forward.

I am especially grateful to the many members of the faculty who found ways to integrate the themes of the Year of the City into their courses. As I write these words I can see a copy of Beyond Evergreen: Writing Our Way Into the City on my book shelf. The wonderful essays in this volume are the work of Loyola students in the Effective Writing courses and it is evident that these young men and women are learning to really see as they learn to write. As a theologian and Saint Augustine fan, I was very happy to learn that our students in the introductory theology course wrestled with The City of God. These are just a couple of the many course-based experiences that were available to our students. I also want to acknowledge the outstanding offerings of “Urban Spaces, Urban Voices,” the 2007 Humanities Symposium and The Big Three Lecture Series which brought national experts to discuss the three most pressing challenges facing Baltimore as identified by Mayor Sheila Dixon; namely housing, healthcare, and education.

In terms of new outreach to neighbors, I would like to highlight “Ministering in the Urban Setting: Encounters with God, Self, and Congregation” a symposium offered by the Department of Pastoral Counseling to ministers in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and Loyola’s partnership with Saint Mary’s School in the Govans neighborhood. In many ways our relationship with this school is emblematic of the the Year of the City in that it involved every division of the College and it is a relationship that moves forward beyond the past academic year. Saint Mary’s School offers families in the Govans area a reasonably priced educational alternative yet it faces the challenges that are common to many urban Catholic schools: increasing expenses, aging facilities and increasing tuitions. Loyola worked with the staff to devise plans to recruit and retain students, to begin plans to raise funds from alumni and foundations, and to complete its accreditation process. In addition, over forty Loyola students visited St. Mary’s each week to act as teacher’s aides, tutors, and coaches. This year we were hoping to see an enrollment of 150 pupils and so we were very gratified to enroll 168 boys and girls -- a very promising development. David Haddad deserves thanks for his dedication to this partnership and we are extremely fortunate in the leadership provided by Amy Maher. Amy, a recent alumna, is a tireless advocate for the partnership and someone who will not accept anything but the best for the students she works for. Like so much of the Year of the City, this partnership has made an enduring mark on this academic community and so will continue to bear fruit for Loyola and for our neighbors in the years ahead. It is evident to me that the achievements of the Year of the City would not have been possible without the hard work of the Co-Directors, Steve Miles and Joan Flynn. I am very grateful for their efforts and for the work of Xavier Cole and the members of the Steering Committee. I hope all of you will take the time to review the impressive final report of this project and re-commit yourself to its ideals.

Enrollment Management

The past academic year also saw the College inaugurate a division: Enrollment Management. The Offices of Undergraduate and Graduate Admission as well as Financial Aid, which had reported to the President now report to Marc Camille, the Vice President for Enrollment Management. I am happy to report that the energy and vision that Marc brings to this area has already started to yield encouraging results. I want to point to a few of the more important developments.

Undergraduate Admission

Class of 2011:

  • 990 enrolled- largest class in Loyola’s history
  • Came from a new record total of 8,594 applications, a 9% increase over last year’s total of 7,889 (Note: 85% of students applied for admission on-line, versus 47% a year ago)
  • Acceptance rate was lowered from 65% to 60%
  • Had a 1 point increase in yield (% of accepted students who decide to enroll), which resulted in the larger than anticipated class
  • Mean unweighted GPA of the class is 3.5; SAT scores remained the same as a year ago, with an average of 1204, but more importantly and indicative of the overall class, gains of 10 points and 20 points respectively were realized at the 25th and 75th percentiles
  • 12.3% of the class are students of color, versus 11.5% of last year’s; notable gains in the African American and Hispanic/Latino populations
  • A year ago, 63% of the class was female; this year, that number dropped to 56%

Miscellaneous:

Over the course of the past year, made great progress in implementing new recruitment strategies and initiatives: scholarship dinner; joint alumni/admission receptions in Boston and CT; accepted student web site; etc.

  • In the year ahead, new multi-year, personalized communication plan being implemented; includes revision of all existing/ introduction of new print brochures, such as the new viewbook which was mailed to current high school senior prospects in mid-August; email communication being introduced
  • A new undergraduate admission office web site will be launched next week, which like the new viewbook, is designed to remain true to Loyola’s character as an outstanding Jesuit, Catholic college, but written in a tone and designed in a way that is more in line with what today’s high school students are looking for;
  • Plans are underway for a new Alumni and Parent Volunteer Admission program, to assist the admission office with covering events around the country
  • The College has hired new Director of Undergraduate Admission, Elena Hicks

Graduate Admission

  • While the fall semester enrollment data for graduate programs is not finalized until mid-October, year to date there have been a total of nearly 2,700 applications submitted for all of Loyola’s graduate programs, the largest amount in ten years
  • The full-time programs (psychology; speech-pathology; and Montessori education) are all at capacity.
  • Our largest part-time programs (business and education) are both stable in their enrollments, but are facing increasingly aggressive competition in the Baltimore area from institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Towson and the University of Maryland.
  • We are pleased that the Baltimore City Public Schools recently re-initiated a partnership with Loyola to build cohort programs designed to improve the quality of teaching and the student academic experience in the City’s at-risk, urban environment.

Financial Aid

  • Through the leadership of Mark Lindenmeyer and his staff, the office once again stayed within the prescribed budget in awarding more than $34 million in institutional aid to Loyola’s undergraduate and graduate students
  • Of particular significance for Loyola was that, for the first time in the College’s history, the full demonstrated financial need of all students in the Class of 2011 was met. Meeting the full need of financial aid applicants is an important strategic initiative in helping Loyola live out it’s Jesuit mission and goal of providing access to our excellent, independent education to all students who are academically prepared and for whom we are a good fit, regardless of their socio-economic status.

While it is gratifying to see so many positive developments in the area of Enrollment Management, I am aware that we face serious challenges in our efforts to attract the most appropriate students for our graduate and undergraduate programs. As I have noted, these challenges include increased competition and student choice as well as the ever increasing strain that independent education places on our students’ financial resources. I am encouraged by the plans that Enrollment Management is advancing in collaboration with Development and Public Relations to develop an integrated marketing strategy that will provide our constituents: prospective students, alumni, parents, and friends, a clear understanding of the Loyola mission and the ways in which we live it. I am also committed to growing our financial aid resources, so that a Loyola education will remain within reach of every talented student. In my view, much of Loyola’s success in recruiting and retaining talented students has rested on the understanding that this is an effort shared by the entire College community, and I am very grateful for that generous support. As we move forward with the initiatives developed by Marc and his colleagues in Enrollment Management, I know that they will be able to continue to count on your encouragement and assistance.

Capital Improvements

I know that you have all had a chance to review the update on campus construction projects that was provided by Helen Schneider, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services, but I do want to make a few comments about the progress we have seen in this area. I especially want to thank Helen and Les Pely, Director of Project Management and Facilities Maintenance, and their colleagues for all they did to bring these projects in on time and on budget. This was particularly important for the new residence hall and the facilities for the Department of Communications. I am delighted to report that the new occupants of these facilities are very happy with their new accommodations.

If there is any statistic that annoys and depresses me, it is Loyola’s high rating in the Princeton Review’s category “You call this a library?” First of all, it is grossly unfair to the dedicated and innovative staff of the Loyola/Notre Dame Library and to the outstanding academic resources in our collection. Secondly, I know that many persons thought the library ugly, but I actually thought the original façade was quite handsome and that it was a distinctive architectural contribution to the two campuses. In any case, I hope that the completion of the first phase of the library expansion and renovation project will lead to our exile from that ignoble list. I urge those of you who have not had a chance to visit the renewed first floor of the library to do so soon and I am happy to report that the renovation and expansion of the lower level will be complete by January. Construction on the entire project will be finished in time for the start of the 2008-2009 academic year.

The Intercollegiate Athletic Complex is making excellent progress. The first phase of this historic project—site preparation—has been completed and we are on target for a Fall 2009 completion date. I have visited the site three times and every time I am astounded by the dramatic changes from the previous visit. As the year commences you will begin to see more and more evidence of this progress when you pass it while driving on the Jones Falls Expressway.

All of this discussion of capital improvements leads naturally to some consideration of the fund-raising efforts that will help to pay for them. The 2007 fiscal year was the last full year in the Preparing Tomorrow Capital Campaign and it was truly an outstanding year. I extend my deep thanks to Dr. Michael Goff and his colleagues for their excellent work on the development front.

Preparing Tomorrow Capital Campaign

A highlight of the past year has been the success of the Preparing Tomorrow Capital Campaign which exceeded its $80 million goal last spring and currently has raised over $87 million in commitments for facilities, endowment, and new programs. During last year alone, over $15 million in new capital commitments were enlisted toward this capital campaign.

The capital campaign is now in its wrap-up phase, with this fall focusing upon targeted solicitations, the wrap-up of the alumni capital campaign, and a special parent capital effort in addition to parent annual giving.

The campus division of the capital campaign, We Are Loyola, has been an especially gratifying part of this effort, with over $400,000 raised last spring, including over 150 commitments of $1,000 or more. A wrap-up segment of this campus campaign is planned for later this month, and the support of everyone will send a very positive message confirming our enthusiastic advocacy of the College to all of our constituents.

Another particularly gratifying part of the wrap-up of such a successful capital campaign is the announcement of major gifts and namings that have resulted from the effort. Today I am especially pleased to announce that a $5 million commitment from a distinguished alumnus and former Trustee, representing the largest personal gift commitment that the College has ever received, has been designated to the Intercollegiate Athletic Complex with the request that this facility be named for my predecessor, Father Hap Ridley. Later this fall I anticipate that the Trustees will approve this recommendation and that Father Ridley's vision for this bold project will be recognized with its naming as the The Harold E. Ridley, S.J. Intercollegiate Athletic Complex.

Other Development Announcements

The past year of 2006-07 was a year in which new thresholds were reached in every aspect of our development efforts, with the total in gifts booked exceeding $10 million for the first time in Loyola's history -- total growth of over 12 percent in giving to the College.

Giving to the Evergreen Fund, the College's annual fund for operating needs, represented over $5.1 million, also a new record with growth of 11 percent and the first time annual giving has exceeded the $5 million mark.

Especially noteworthy in contributing to this very successful annual fund was the generosity of alumni and parents as well as the success of fund-raising for athletics and new programmatic priorities.

The Year Ahead

Fund-raising for capital needs will continue to be a focus of attention during the year ahead, both in terms of the continuing wrap-up phase of the Preparing Tomorrow Capital Campaign and the early planning process for a new major comprehensive capital campaign.

Fund-raising for operating needs through the annual fund, the Evergreen Fund, also will be a priority, with this year's campaign already running over 35 percent ahead of this time last year as we seek to surpass a new goal of $5.6 million.

Initial preparation is underway for the development efforts that will support the next strategic plan. Common wisdom in the advancement area is that it is appropriate to have a campaign goal that is at least double that of the previous campaign. We will therefore take steps in the coming year to analyze our donor base and strategic practices in order to position ourselves for continued success.

Since this will be a year of transitions in many ways for the Development division, I also want to inform you of some changes that will take place within the College administration in the summer of 2008. At that time Dr. Michael Goff, currently the Vice President for Development and College Relations, will assume new duties as Special Assistant to the President.

During the past year I became aware of the need for executive level support in the Office of the President. I have not been able to make satisfactory progress on a number of my goals due to the external demands of my work and I am aware that those demands will only increase as we progress with the new strategic plan. I am grateful to Michael Goff for his willingness to undertake these new duties at this time. It seemed to be a good time to make this move because Michael is completing the final stages of Loyola’s current capital campaign, Preparing Tomorrow, and he is ready to assume new administrative challenges. I have had the pleasure and the privilege of working very closely with Dr. Goff and I know that his love for Loyola College and his administrative skill will continue to serve us well for years to come. I also want to express my gratitude to Michael personally on behalf of the entire College community for his extraordinary efforts in securing the necessary resources for Loyola’s success and for representing Loyola to our external constituents with dignity and integrity.

We will soon begin a process for identifying new leadership in the College’s advancement efforts and I will be in communication with the Loyola community about the exact nature of those efforts.

Strategic Planning

It occurs to me that my speech thus far has been a meditation—of sorts—on the success of Great Resolves, Great Desires, Loyola’s recently concluded strategic plan; a plan that set challenging goals for new campus facilities, greater diversity and intellectual engagement among our students, and new resources to support the needs of our faculty, administrators, and staff. It is now time for Loyola College to enter into a process that will help us build on these achievements and set new and higher goals for this university. Various members of the Loyola community have been working on this plan for almost a year and we are still over a year away from its final approval by the College’s Board of Trustees at their October 2008 meeting. While we have made solid progress on our strategic goals, there is still plenty of time to discern how we might achieve these goals most efficiently and effectively; to determine what the“big ideas” are that will serve to move this great institution forward.

In our current planning efforts, we are conscious that all of the major steps over the past forty years that have moved Loyola College to a prominent place among American universities have been the result of careful planning. These steps include the decisions to become coeducational, residential, regional, and to seek membership in Phi Beta Kappa and accreditation from AACSB for the Sellinger School. It seems that the opportunity before Loyola College at this time is to add greater depth and substance to what we are already doing very well. Therefore we have articulated the goal of the next strategic plan in the following terms:

Loyola College will be recognized as the leading Catholic, comprehensive university in the nation. The evidence for this prominence will be the following attributes:

  1. A strong Jesuit identity, steeped in the Catholic intellectual tradition that permeates the entire College community.
  2. A vibrant university climate that engages students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, as well as the broader community in distinct and meaningful ways, with an emphasis on academic excellence and intellectual inquiry.
    • Strategic Plan for the Sciences
    • Sellinger Strategic Plan for Graduate Education
  3. A diverse campus community that includes a diversity of ideas and experiences, and that promotes and embraces justice as well as global and domestic diversity.
  4. A civic and community engagement that derives from as well as supports the Jesuit tradition of service for creating a just and equitable world.

· Engage the community along York Road to provide greater security and mutually beneficial services and amenities

  1. A broad range of resources that support an ambitious agenda of programmatic and capital initiatives.

The various members of the College community we have consulted agree that these attributes, if implemented appropriately, have the potential to revolutionize the student experience at Loyola.

Allow me to speak a few words in the hope of defining some of our terms. When I speak of Loyola College in Maryland as a comprehensive university, I mean to distinguish Loyola from both exclusively undergraduate liberal arts institutions like Holy Cross and from what are referred to as Research I universities like Georgetown where a full complement of doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences and the like are offered. As a Catholic, Jesuit comprehensive university, Loyola College is committed to an undergraduate education—whether in the College of Arts and Sciences or in the Sellinger School of Business and Management—that is informed by the liberating intellectual achievement of the Christian West. As a comprehensive university, Loyola is committed to graduate education of the highest quality—principally but not exclusively in the professional disciplines. This means that graduate programs are not merely auxiliary enterprises and that Loyola’s commitment to cura personalis must be extended to our graduate students as well as to the undergraduates.

I would also like to say a few words about how I understand the Catholic nature of Loyola College and why I believe that our curriculum must be rooted in the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition. I realize that I am a walking contradiction in terms for many of you: constantly harping on the Christian intellectual heritage while at the same time urging departments to hire specialists in Islam or Asia or post-colonial studies. For me there is not a contradiction here. I believe that a Catholic university is truly Catholic only insofar as it is truly a university. What can be more Incarnational and therefore Catholic than the Jesuit belief that we can find God in ALL things. In ALL things, not only in the safe, the familiar, the unchallenging, or the conventional and that we will find God in all things if we have the courage to pursue our academic inquiries to their inevitable end which is mystery. All of our studies at the university level should open us to questions about meaning or purpose or responsibility. These are religious and ethical questions that I believe will arise as readily in economics or speech pathology as they will in philosophy or theology. Any attempt to dismiss or bracket these fundamental human questions or concerns is an intellectual failure in my view and is unworthy of the academic life.[1] This is most emphatically not to suggest that academic theology must be included in every course or that the faculty must become proficient in the theological disciplines. As a theologian myself I support the theological engagement required in our undergraduate curriculum but I must in all honesty acknowledge that theology arrives late in the history of Jesuit education. I encourage you read John O’Malley’s wonderful book, The First Jesuits. O’Malley shows that Jesuit education was novel not because of its theological content but rather because of its confidence in the educational and ethical value of what was unhappily referred to as “pagan literature.”[2] This literature in addition to being beautiful was perceived to have the power to evoke questions of fundamental importance which in the correct environment could be developed into a religious and ethical sensibility. Nicholas Varga’s history of Loyola College demonstrates the same thing. For the first fifty years the religious instruction was minimal and optional for the non Catholic students. Loyola is proud of its Catholic intellectual heritage because it is radically open to the “other” and in no way sectarian or narrow.

Strategic planning at Loyola College has always been undertaken from a position of strength and with an unwavering commitment to our distinctive mission as a Jesuit institution. These attributes characterize the current climate of Loyola’s strategic planning process and so we are poised for continued success marked by academic prominence. Academic prominence not as an end in itself but in the service of our students and of the broader community. I encourage all of you to take an active role in this planning process during the coming year and in it implementation ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Thank you for your kind attention and for all that you do to advance the mission of this institution that I am so very proud of.


[1] These comments are influenced by the work of John Haughey, S.J. He has spoken on this topic to the Loyola College faculty and the Presidents’ Meeting of the AJCU.

[2] John W. O’Malley; The First Jesuits; Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1993; 241-2.